Museum Studies MSc

Museum Studies

The Masters in Museum Studies will help you develop the knowledge, understanding and skills required of today’s versatile museum professional. It has been designed in conjunction with employers to meet their needs for well-rounded museum professionals trained in the latest theoretical and practical approaches.

Key facts

Why this programme

  • Glasgow’s civic and university collections are the richest and most diverse outside of London and are of international standing.
  • Taught alongside staff from the University's own museum and art gallery, The Hunterian, the degree programme provides a combination of academic and practitioner input.
  • If you want to develop a career in the cultural heritage sector, this programme has been developed for you.
  • Three versions of the degree allow you follow standard or specialist strands.
  • There are great opportunities for you to take practice based courses or work placements at the museums and galleries that partner the programme.
  • We welcome applicants from across the arts and sciences, current professionals or career changers, from the UK or abroad.

Programme structure

Three different strands of the MSc Museum Studies are offered.

The Theory and Practice strand is our standard Museum Studies programme where the museum itself is the primary object of study.

Two specialist strands: Collecting and Provenance; and Artefact and Material Culture, enable you to combine courses in Museum Studies with specialist courses from Masters programmes provided by Archaeology and History of Art.

Each strand will give you a different mix of core and optional courses. All students take two 20 credit common core courses in Museology and Research and Professional Skills. You also take four 20 credit courses from your strand (a combination of strand core and optional courses) and one 60 credit research project.

Core and optional courses

Common core courses

  • Introduction to Museology
  • Research and Professional Skills

Strand core courses

  • One or two courses from your chosen strand

Optional courses

  • One or two optional courses from your chosen strand

To finish the programme, you choose between

  • Exhibition Research and Development Placement
  • Dissertation on a specialist topic of your choice


Theory and Practice

This strand introduces you to the theoretical, contextual, ethical and practical issues involved in curating, engaging, interpreting, developing and managing museum resources and services. It develops your understanding and skills in contemporary museum issues and exposes you to the many and varied challenges and opportunities facing museums today. Particular emphasis is placed on visitor studies, interpretation and learning, operational issues and the role of information technology. This strand features a range of courses taught by museum staff from The Hunterian and Glasgow Museums providing students with a unique professional perspective.

Theory and Practice Courses

  • Museum Interpretation and Learning (Core)
  • Museum Practice
  • Heritage and Cultural Informatics
  • Curating the Sciences
  • American Material Culture
  • Phenomenology
  • 2D Digitisation
  • Approaching the Ancient World
  • Work Placement
  • Hunterian Exhibition Course
  • International Trafficking in Cultural Objects

Collecting and Provenance (in conjunction with History of Art)

This strand promotes the interdisciplinary study of the history of collecting and collections from an international perspective. The focus is on the examination of the trajectories of artefacts through time and space and their historical legacy. The teaching emphasises object-based study and covers methodological approaches on topics such as connoisseurship, taste, both private and public patterns of collecting and viewing, and the politics of display. In addition, students are introduced to principles of provenance research and related legal issues. 

Collecting and Provenance Courses

  • Cultures of Collecting (Core)
  • Object Biography
  • Provenance
  • Collecting and Display
  • Restitution
  • 2D Digitisation
  • Approaching the Ancient World
  • Work Placement
  • Hunterian Exhibition Course
  • International Trafficking in Cultural Objects

Artefact and Material Culture (in conjunction with Archaeology)

This strand is designed to provide a broad grounding in the fields of artefact and material culture studies. You will be introduced to the specialist skills of archaeological finds analysis and related topics pertaining to the study and care of artefact collections. In addition to a strong practical element, this strand develops a theoretical awareness of the complexities of interdisciplinary material culture studies and related professional issues in the management and curation of cultural materials. It prepares you at both a theoretical and practical level in the field of specialist artefactual analysis as well as the demands of the museum sector with regard to material culture.

Artefact and Material Culture Courses

  • Material Culture in Context (Core)
  • Process of Artefact Studies (Core)
  • Critical Themes in the Display and Reception of Objects
  • Science Based Analysis of Archaeological Material
  • Early Medieval Artefacts
  • Viking & Late Norse Artefacts
  • 2D Digitisation
  • Approaching the Ancient World
  • Work Placement
  • Hunterian Exhibition Course
  • International Trafficking in Cultural Objects

What our students say

"Thank you so much for your instruction, guidance, encouragement and for your references. I really think this programme you are building with The Hunterian and Glasgow Museums is going to get more and more extraordinary." Siobhan

"Thank you for everything!" Katie

"Just so you know, I have been using tons of what I learned already. Mixing with the sector, speaking to culture ministers, Glasgow Life about innovation, attending a Museum Camp in Birmingham and I've been invited to explore options for public engagement with museums etc. Proof that the course leads to MANY exciting opportunities to impact and influence museums and the cultural sector outside of simply working for a museum. Thanks for your guidance and support last year. It was tough but it has helped me get where I am today - happy in a new career." Suzanne

Industry links and employability

Work experience opportunities form an important part of the degree programme and we provide these in a number of ways.

As part of your degree

As part of your degree you can take an optional Work Placement course that provides valuable work experience in a museum, gallery or other cultural institution. We have close links with a number of institutions, giving students the chance to engage in a project-based work placement, where they can explore a possible future career, while meeting professional practitioners and developing skills and experience.

Students can also gain insight into the world of museum work through the Museum Practice course (Theory and Practice strand) or The Hunterian Exhibition course (all strands). Museum Practice (not in conjunction with the Hunterian Exhibition course) is taught by staff from Glasgow Museums in the renowned Glasgow Museums Resource Centre. On this course students get to hear first-hand accounts of museum work and experience it themselves through project work that contributes to an ongoing Glasgow Museums activity. In The Hunterian Exhibition course students are exposed to the range of museum work through the perspective of exhibition development. As well as being taught by staff from The Hunterian, students undertake activities based in the museum.

As an alternative to a dissertation, students can also take the option of The Exhibition Research and Development placement (the Hunterian Exhibition course is a pre-requisite). This provides students with exhibition research and development placements in museums, galleries and other cultural institutions to work on an aspect of ongoing exhibition development over the summer months. This provides students with:

  • experience that reflects the type of exhibition research and development they may encounter in the work place
  • opportunity for a substantial piece of independent research work
  • experience of working to a defined project brief and schedule
  • extended period working with cultural heritage staff


As well as the work experience opportunities within the course we provide a range of other means to gain valuable work experience. The Hunterian runs its MUSE (Museum University Student Educators) programme that recruits volunteers to provide guided tours to visitors. Both The Hunterian and Glasgow Museums also have active volunteer programmes and we provide a range of other volunteer work experience opportunities from museums and galleries across the west of Scotland throughout the year.

Graduate Internships

Each year our Museum partners provide three or four internships exclusively for graduates of our Museum Studies degree. These internships are three to six months, full or part-time, to help students bridge the gap between qualification and the world of work by building up a sustained body of work experience in a leading museum organisation.

Career prospects

Career opportunities exist in a variety of roles within the cultural heritage sector; these include museums and galleries as well as historic houses, heritage sites and consultancy. Roles range from front of house, education and outreach to collections management, curation, marketing and management.

Entry requirements

Entry requirements for postgraduate taught programmes are a 2.1 Honours degree or equivalent qualification (for example, GPA 3.0 or above) in a relevant subject unless otherwise specified.

English language requirements

For applicants whose first language is not English, the University sets a minimum English Language proficiency level.

International English Language Testing System (IELTS) Academic module (not General Training):

  • overall score 6.5
  • no sub-test less than 6.5
  • or equivalent scores in another recognised qualification:

Common equivalent English language qualifications

All stated English tests are acceptable for admission for both home/EU and international students for this programme:

  • ibTOEFL: 92; no sub-test less than:
    • Reading: 23
    • Listening:23
    • Speaking: 23
    • Writing: 24
  • CAE (Cambridge Certificate of Advanced English): 176 overall; no sub-test less than 176
  • CPE (Cambridge Certificate of Proficiency in English): 176 overall; no sub-test less than 176
  • PTE Academic (Pearson Test of English, Academic test): 64 overall;  no sub-test less than 62
  • Trinity College London Integrated Skills in English: ISEII at Distinction with Distinction in all sub-tests

For international students, the Home Office has confirmed that the University can choose to use these tests to make its own assessment of English language ability for visa applications to degree level programmes. The University is also able to accept an IELTS test (Academic module) from any of the 1000 IELTS test centres from around the world and we do not require a specific UKVI IELTS test for degree level programmes. We therefore still accept any of the English tests listed for admission to this programme.

Pre-sessional courses

The University of Glasgow accepts evidence of the required language level from the English for Academic Study Unit Pre-sessional courses. We also consider other BALEAP accredited pre-sessional courses:


What do I do if...

my language qualifications are below the requirements?

The University's English for Academic Study Unit offers a range of Pre-Sessional Courses to bring you up to entry level. The course is accredited by BALEAP, the UK professional association for academic English teaching; see Links.

my language qualifications are not listed here?

Please contact the Recruitment and International Office:


For further information about English language requirements, please contact the Recruitment and International Office:

Fees and funding

Tuition fees for 2017-18


Home and EU
Full time fee£7250
Part time 20 credits£806
Full time fee£16000


The University requires a deposit of £500 to be paid by applicants in receipt of an offer to this programme.

Fees are subject to change and for guidance only

Additional fees

  • Fee for submission by a research student: £460
  • Fee for re-assessment of a dissertation (PGT programme): £300
  • Submission for a higher degree by published work: £1,000
  • Submission of thesis after deadline lapsed: £200
  • Submission by staff in receipt of staff scholarship: £680
  • Research students registered as non-supervised Thesis Pending students (50% refund will be granted if the student completes thesis within the first six months of the period): £260
  • Registration/exam only fee: £110
  • General Council fee: £50

Alumni discount

A 10% discount is available to University of Glasgow alumni applying to the MSc. This includes graduates and those who have completed a Junior Year Abroad, Exchange programme or International Summer School at the University of Glasgow. The discount is applied at registration for students who are not in receipt of another discount or scholarship funded by the University. No additional application is required.

Funding opportunities

How to apply

We ask that you apply online for a postgraduate taught degree. Our system allows you to fill out the standard application form online and submit this to the University within 42 days of starting your application.

You need to read the guide to applying online before starting your application. It will ensure you are ready to proceed, as well as answer many common questions about the process.

Guide to applying online

Do I have to apply online for a postgraduate taught degree?

Yes. To apply for a postgraduate taught degree you must apply online. We are unable to accept your application by any other means than online.

Do I need to complete and submit the application in a single session?

No. You have 42 days to submit your application once you begin the process. You may save and return to your application as many times as you wish to update information, complete sections or upload additional documents such as your final transcript or your language test.

What documents do I need to provide to make an application?

As well as completing your online application fully, it is essential that you submit the following documents:

  • A copy (or copies) of your official degree certificate(s) (if you have already completed your degree)
  • A copy (or copies) of your official academic transcript(s), showing full details of subjects studied and grades/marks obtained
  • Official English translations of the certificate(s) and transcript(s)
  • Two supporting reference letters on headed paper
  • Evidence of your English Language ability (if your first language is not English)
  • Any additional documents required for this programme (see Entry requirements for this programme)
  • A copy of the photo page of your passport (Non-EU students only)

If you do not have all of these documents at the time of submitting your application then it is still possible to make an application and provide any further documents at a later date, as long as you include a full current transcript (and an English translation if required) with your application. See the ‘Your References, Transcripts and English Qualification’ sections of our Frequently Asked Questions for more information.

Do my supporting documents need to be submitted online?

Yes, where possible, please upload the supporting documents with your application.

How do I provide my references?

You must either upload the required references to your online application or ask your referees to send the references to the University as we do not contact referees directly. There is two main ways that you can provide references: you can either upload references on headed paper when you are making an application using the Online Application (or through Applicant Self-Service after you have submitted your application) or you can ask your referee to email the reference directly to See the 'Your References, Transcripts and English Qualifications' section of the Frequently Asked Questions for more information.

What if I am unable to submit all of my supporting documents online?

If you cannot upload an electronic copy of a document and need to send it in by post, please attach a cover sheet to it that includes your name, the programme you are applying for, and your application reference number.

You may send them to:

Postgraduate Admissions
Marketing, Recruitment & International Office
71 Southpark Avenue
G12 8QQ
Fax: +44 141 330 4045

Can I email my supporting documents?

No. We cannot accept email submissions of your supporting documents.

What entry requirements should I have met before applying? Where can I find them?

You should check that you have met (or are likely to have met prior to the start of the programme) the individual entry requirements for the degree programme you are applying for. This information can be found on the ‘entry requirements’ tab on each individual programme page, such as the one you are viewing now.

What English Language requirements should I have met before applying? Where can I find them?

If you are an international student, you should also check that you have met the English Language requirements specific to the programme you are applying for. These can also be found on the ‘entry requirements’ tab for each specific programme.

Further Information

Please see the Frequently Asked Questions for more information on applying to a postgraduate taught programme.

Guidance notes for using the online application

These notes are intended to help you complete the online application form accurately, they are also available within the help section of the online application form. If you experience any difficulties accessing the online application then you should visit the Application Troubleshooting/FAQs page.

  • Name and Date of birth: must appear exactly as they do on your passport. Please take time to check the spelling and lay-out.
  • Contact Details: Correspondence address. All contact relevant to your application will be sent to this address including the offer letter(s). If your address changes, please contact us as soon as possible.
  • Choice of course: Please select carefully the course you want to study. As your application will be sent to the admissions committee for each course you select it is important to consider at this stage why you are interested in the course and that it is reflected in your application.
  • Proposed date of entry: Please state your preferred start date including the month and the year. Taught masters degrees tend to begin in September. Research degrees may start in any month.
  • Education and Qualifications: Please complete this section as fully as possible indicating any relevant Higher Education qualifications starting with the most recent. Complete the name of the Institution (s) as it appears on the degree certificate or transcript.
  • English Language Proficiency: Please state the date of any English language test taken (or to be taken) and the award date (or expected award date if known).
  • Employment and Experience: Please complete this section as fully as possible with all employments relevant to your course. Additional details may be attached in your personal statement/proposal where appropriate.
  • References: Please provide the names and contact details of two academic references. Where applicable one of these references may be from your current employer. References should be completed on letter headed paper and uploaded on to your application.

Application deadlines

  • Application phase 1 deadline: 24 March 2017
  • Application phase 2 deadline: 12 May 2017

All applications submitted before 24 March 2017 will be reviewed and processed normally.

Between 25 March 2017 and 12 May 2017, applications will be considered. However, if places become limited then only the most highly qualified applicants will be offered a place.

Please note that applications received after 12 May 2017 may be considered following a review of available places.

Apply now